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What to do after someone dies

Navigating what to do when a loved one passes away can be overwhelming. Here are the basic steps you need to do...

The essentials of what you need to do:

  • Verification of death: If your loved one has died at home, they will need to be visited by a registered healthcare professional to complete a process called “verification of death.”


Please contact the GP surgery of the deceased or 111. If the deceased was a patient of St Elizabeth Hospice and the death was expected you may also call the OneCall service (0800 567 0111) who can advise and verify death if they have capacity to do so.

  • When to call the funeral director: After the death has been verified, you can then contact the funeral director to arrange for your loved one to be collected, the healthcare professional visiting to verify the death will advise you further.

  • Registering the death: For information and advice on how to register a death, please follow this link to this leaflet from LivingGrief which explains the steps to follow.

  • Tell Us Once Service: After the death of a loved one, there may be many organisations to contact to report the death. This can be a very busy and confusing time.


The Tell Us Once service enables you to report the death of a loved one to several government organisations in one call. The registrar should explain this service to you when you register the death.


The registrar will either complete the Tell Us Once process with you or will give you your unique reference number to enable you to complete the process yourself online. For more information please visit the official government website for the Tell Us Once service. 

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Dealing with financial matters...
What if I cannot afford to pay for a funeral?

  • Lower cost options: Funerals can be expensive and this can be a concern for many people. If this is something which is worrying you, speak to your funeral director about their lower budget options. Remember, the purpose of a funeral is to enable you and those close to the deceased to say “Goodbye”, don’t be pressured into buying expensive “extra touches” that you don’t need.

  • Direct cremation: Another option which may be more affordable is to opt for a direct cremation without funeral service. You may then choose to hold your own memorial if you wish in a manner which is meaningful and that works best for you.

  • Council funded funeral: Often the cost of a funeral can be recovered from the estate of the deceased person. If you have concerns that there is not enough within their estate to pay for a funeral and you cannot afford to pay for it, speak to the Local Council, often they can arrange a simple and respectful funeral.

  • Funeral expenses payment: You may be able to claim for financial support to help you to pay for the funeral of an adult, child or a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy if you are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply please visit the official government website here.

  • Children’s funeral fund: You may be able to get financial help to contribute towards the funeral costs of a child or of a baby still born after 24 weeks of pregnancy. This fund is not means tested and your savings or income will not be taken into account. (This fund is available only for funerals taking place in England). For more information please visit the official government website here.

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I am worried about how I will manage financially

If you have concerns about how you will manage financially after the death of your loved one, it may be helpful for you to see someone for a benefits check just to see if there is any additional income you could claim.


There are several agencies who offer a benefits check service including your local Citizens Advice, you can search for your local branch here. 

Bereavement support payment:

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If your spouse or partner has died within the last 21 months you may be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment if:

  • If the person who has died paid national insurance payments for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6th April 1975

  • If their death was due to an accident or disease caused by work

  • If, when they died, you were under state pension age and are living in the UK. (You cannot claim bereavement support payment if you are in prison)


For more information about the eligibility criteria and how to claim please visit the official government website here.

Statutory parental and bereavement pay and leave:

If your child died before the age of 18, or if your baby was stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy you may be able to claim statutory parental leave and/or statutory parental pay.


For more information, please visit the official government website here.

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